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Personal blog entries now here. Blogger Boobie-Thon moved here.
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You've got fires banked down in you - hearth-fires and holocausts
This is something I was so upset about when I heard the news last night, I couldn't even bring myself to blog about it. We named one of the twins we lost Katharine, a name we'd had picked out for years. I figured what greater gift to give a woman, than to be named after someone so wise, strong and independent. That should just about say it all. Rest in peace, Ms. Hepburn. You will never be equaled.

"This is one of those days that the pages of history teach us are best spent lying in bed..." —The Philadelphia Story
posted at 06:57 AM | link--it | mail it | (0) shout it






I talked for hours to your wallet photograph
The world has turned and left me here
Just where I was before you appeared
And in your place, an empty space
Has filled the void behind my face...


Well this has been a somewhat difficult day that I don't hope to repeat soon. I ordered the group floral arrangement for tomorrow's funeral. I think it's going to be nice -- eleven of our names are going on the card. I e-mailed the OU Scholars Program director with the news this afternoon. He was our academic adviser back when we all lived in the Honors Dorm. I wasn't sure if they wanted to offer official condolences to the family or not, but I thought it would be nice to give them the option. With only three small floors of residents above the offices, the Honors Dorm residents are a very tight-knit community. Our message board has had tributes and favorite memories passed back and forth today. I've talked with a few other friends today for the first time since this happened. And I put on a Nirvana CD -- something I haven't listened to in years -- and typed out a letter to Kevin. Adam is going to be a pallbearer, and said he would try to slip it in the casket for me since I can't be there tomorrow. The only other such letter I've ever written was to my Grandfather, but he had cancer and I was able to give it to him before he passed away. Knowing I've been trying to contact Kevin for three weeks and couldn't reach him has been particularly hard...this is the only goodbye I'll get, and it's after the fact. I noticed that Jana said her goodbyes at her blog as well.

Kevin's obituary came out in yesterday's paper. I'm going to edit it a bit out of respect for the family and their privacy. But since you've seen his photos, I thought you might want to see what an incredible, brilliant person he was as well.


KEVIN D. SMITH
The funeral for Kevin Daryl Smith, 28, will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 28, 2003.

He was born Sept. 29, 1974, to Fred D. and Lois L. Smith and died Thursday, May 22, 2003.

He graduated with honors from High School in 1992. In May 1997, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma and was admitted to the law school at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his juris doctorate with honors in May 2000. He obtained a position with a law firm in Pittsburgh, Pa., recently transferring to its Dallas office.

He was preceded in death by his father, maternal grandfather and paternal grandparents.
posted at 06:06 PM | link--it | mail it | (5) shout it






The day after the night before
I don't think I got a full-hour's sleep straight last night. The tears finally came, and today my eyes have that puffy, tired "ache" to them. I just feel lost. And gripped by the fear that bad news always comes in threes, and this is just our second major loss of the year. The year's not even half-over yet.

We've debated and debated on whether or not to go back for the funeral, and I don't think we're going to. Money is extremely tight post-vacation to say the least. But that's not really the reason when it boils down to it. Knowing he was dating his ex-fiancée again really is honestly the reason for me. When I met him, I didn't know he was engaged to someone I knew. I just thought he was engaged to "someone" in Chicago. That someone turned out to be a good friend of mine from junior high and a fellow cheerleader. He broke off their engagement to start dating me, so there's obviously not a lot of good blood there -- even though it was a decision he made all on his own. Anyway, I just feel like "she" should be the one at the funeral since they had recently been back together again. Not me. I don't want to hurt her any more than she already is. And I'm just afraid seeing me would hurt her and open old wounds, in addition to the current ones she must have.

I'm not sure if that will make sense, but I don't suppose any of this makes sense to begin with, now does it? He's going to be buried in the same small town my grandfather is buried in, so hopefully one day soon I can pay them both a visit again...

Thanks so much to everyone who's e-mailed and left comments of support and encouragement. Please save your thoughts and prayers for his family, however. This is their second, difficult death in a couple of year's time. I just can't imagine what they must be going through.
posted at 12:59 PM | link--it | mail it | (0) shout it



Only words that I could find...
[Clearwater Beach 1] [Clearwater Beach 2] [Clearwater Beach 3]

A few photos from our late afternoon at the beach. You'll forgive me if my heart isn't exactly in them right now... I'll try to add more later this week.


We're getting older, the world's getting colder
For the life of me I don't know the reason why
Maybe it's livin' making us give in
Hearts rolling in taken back on the tide
We're balanced together ocean upon the sky...


UPDATE: All photos taken today can now be found in Shutterblog.
posted at 01:16 AM | link--it | mail it | (1) shout it






In the sun, in the sun I feel as one

[kevin smith]

It's a message you never expect on your voicemail after a day at the beach. "Hi, this is Kevin Smith's sister. Can you please give me a call as soon as you get this message?" Especially considering you haven't seen her since she was in grade school, and she's now a grown woman who barely even remembers you. The pit of your stomach sinks as you know it's not good. It can't be good. So you call a good friend close to home to see if they've heard anything. They haven't. And then you open your e-mail and immediately see the name of another good friend with the words, "Call me please." You know it's officially bad. Your fingers can't even tremble out the right numbers. It takes you three tries to dial. And it is bad. Then the phonecalls begin so you can pass along the news "in person", too...

A boyfriend of mine in college, and still someone I consider a very good friend, committed suicide this weekend. I believe he would have been 29 this fall. We talked as grown-apart couples and friends who are married (he, since divorced) do. Here and there. On occasion. E-mailing for several hours straight. Then not again for weeks. I honestly can't remember if I talked to Kevin this year. I can't remember a lot from this year to be honest. I know we talked at the end of last year. I know things were going well for him. He'd had a really tough time with his divorce and the death of his father, but he'd done very well for himself. He graduated near the top of his class at UT's law school and was working for a very prestigious firm in Pennsylvania. At the time, he had a new girlfriend and they had just moved in together. We talked a lot about football, and about how happy we were the Sooners were doing well. He had a new replica of Memorial Stadium he had with him at all times on game day. I had my lucky t-shirts.

Apparently he had just moved back to Texas within the last few weeks, and that's where it grows hazy for those of us close to him. He had started a new job with his firm, and was apparently seeing the girl he'd been engaged to before he dated me. We understand he'd been in touch with several people he'd been estranged with recently. I wasn't one of them.

But then again, we weren't estranged. I had seen him fairly recently. He was down here a few summers ago and we spent the afternoon together goofing off and catching up on old times. We had lunch with Todd. And then he was gone. I had no idea that would be the last time I'd see him. My name and number were on a note he left to his sister so I'd be notified. How do I come to terms with being on a list like that?

To be honest, I have no idea how this is effecting me yet. I've tried to cry, but the tears just stay there welled up like they can't fall. I'm in shock. Not in shock that this is actually something he did, because I dated him for a long time. I was friends with him even longer. I loved him. I knew him. We had fought about suicide when Kurt Cobain took his life. It was a wicked fight. (We had a lot of those, anyone who knew us well can attest to -- they were the basis of our relationship it seemed at times. But the bigger the fight, the deeper the friendship.) I knew how he felt about suicide. And I remember telling him at the time if he ever did that to me I would bring him back and kill him again for even trying it. But I just never dreamed...

Now I will spend the rest of my life wondering "what if". What if I'd fought a little harder with him in college to stay here with us. What if I had put my own pain aside this year and tried to find out that he had his own. What if my e-mails hadn't went unreturned the last three weeks. (Our dorm in college, where Todd also lived, has a new message board online and we're planning a reunion next year. I couldn't understand why he wasn't over there with us joining in on the fun. I was trying to get his attention and find out what he'd been up to.) What if. And why?

I miss him. And now I have to live with the fact I always will. All alone is all we are...



I know a lot of my friends from college read here from time to time. We're going to send a group arrangement from the Honors Dorm to the funeral home. The services are this coming Wednesday if you'd like more details. Please feel free to leave messages to his family in the comments and I'll make sure they're passed along, and if you'd like your name on the arrangement, just let me know. -Robyn
posted at 10:47 PM | link--it | mail it | (44) shout it






Then you keep going 'til you break my heart
This song started going through my head when I was in the shower this evening. Thought I'd share... I couldn't have said it better myself.


Human

I play a good game
But not as good as you
I can be a little cold
But you can be so cruel

I'm not made of brick
I'm not made of stone
But I had you fooled enough
To take me on...

...Well there's blood in these veins
And I cry when in pain
I'm only human on the inside

And if looks can deceive
Make it hard to believe
I'm only human on the inside...

...See I bleed and I bruise
Oh, but what's it to you
I'm only human on the inside

And if looks could deceive
Make it hard to believe
I'm only human on the inside

I crash and I burn
Maybe some day you'll learn
I'm only human on the inside

I stumble and fall
Baby, under it all
I'm only human on the inside

And the damage is done...

...Well there's blood in these veins
And I cry when in pain
I'm only human on the inside

And if looks can deceive
Make it hard to believe
I'm only human on the inside

I crash and I burn
Maybe some day you'll learn

I stumble and fall
Baby, I do it all

I'm only human on the inside...

Lyrics credit: The Pretenders
posted at 10:53 PM | link--it | mail it | (3) shout it






Kiss my entire, 36" white as snow ass
If you've ever wondered just exactly why I took part of my blog to sooner-born.com and made it private and passworded, you only need to look to Jesus. Todd took me out today because I just needed out of here -- anywhere. And I come back after my brief escape in the real world to find that my comments were spammed by some mindless twit (who most likely used a public computer to post the drivel -- IP 66.114.228.138). And guess what. That just happens to be a Seattle IP. Now I'm no mathematician, but it doesn't take a National Merit Scholar to figure it out...

I'm not going to leave them all up (across ten total entries in 2003 and 2002), because quite frankly, that's my prerogative. <cue Bobby Brown> But in the future just in case someone wants to know why I decided to go private -- I'm pointing you right back here to this comment left the day before Mother's Day -- right after my miscarriage. This is just one of dozens of similar e-mails, comments and blog entries I've received in recent months -- and that's when I finally decided the only one that had a right to my life was me and pulled the plug. To quote my other site, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

If you think comments like that are going to break me, you've got another thing coming. You see, there's this thing called real life. It doesn't involve a power supply, keyboard or monitor. And it's done a fine enough job of kicking my ass this year without your help. Thank you. Drive through. And don't forget the special sauce. -Robyn
posted at 09:49 PM | link--it | mail it | (0) shout it






Everywhere you turn
This is always the hardest week of the year for me. The TV stays off. Everywhere you turn is another damn Hallmark and Mother's Day commercial reminding you of what you don't have. Every channel devotes their programming to dear ol' mom. Every restaurant devotes their menu to her as well. And every year I tell myself "next year..." I've been saying that since 1998. You'd think I'd "get it" by now. It's my way of coping, I guess.

But this year, by far, is going to be the hardest. We lost the two children they said we'd never have on Valentine's Day. Excuse me whilst I go punch something now.
posted at 11:27 AM | link--it | mail it | (0) shout it






Solace through nature, Chapter XVII

With a hand to your head
You sigh out loud
As a memory washes over
And buries you.....

For everyone
There's a person place or time
That brings you back
And makes you feel alive
Before your reason clouds your eyes
You could rule the world if you wanted to

—"Cry in the Sun", Better Than Ezra



posted at 07:07 PM | link--it | mail it | (4) shout it






Happy Sunday
It's really hard for me to wish everyone a Happy Easter today. Sure I could go against everything I was raised with and put up pics of Peeps, Easter eggs, and little chocolate bunnies -- but those aren't really the reasons I've always celebrated the holiday.

I've spent a great portion of my year mad at God. I'm trying to make peace with him, but I'm just not there yet. And today only symbolizes the start of the Hallmark season of family holidays -- Mother's Day and Father's Day are right around the corner. So while I should be happily in my second trimester by now, instead I'm left rapidly changing the channel every time another Luvs and Huggies commercial comes on.

So please forgive me if I don't put up generic "Happy Easter" greetings. This year, it just isn't for me... -Robyn
posted at 12:50 PM | link--it | mail it | (0) shout it






All we need is just a little patience

[angels watching over me]

I just bought Patience, Remembrance and Miracles for the two of us. Hope it works...
posted at 05:12 PM | link--it | mail it | (9) shout it






Step right up and get your ticket

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.....
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me feel so frightened, so sick, so excited, so scared, so safe, and so thrilled, altogether! Some didn't like it. They wanted to go on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

Quote Credit: Parenthood


I was reminded of the above after reading this entry.
posted at 04:43 PM | link--it | mail it | (13) shout it



Only love.

[you snoozed you losed]

[Click to view the song lyrics]

"You never see the hard times in a photo album, but they're the ones that carry you from one happy snapshot to the next."

Quote Credit: Just Married
posted at 03:29 AM | link--it | mail it | (7) shout it






More than words is all you have to do to make it real
I know a lot of people are speechless right now. Please don't feel bad about that, if you just don't know what to say to us. To be perfectly honest, we're speechless, too. I don't know what to tell myself to make it all better, and I certainly don't expect you to have the words that will fix things either. There are always going to be "I think they meant well" comments in any circumstance like this. It's a part of life. And a part of grief. Sometimes the need to say something, anything quickly because you do care can leave you accidentally opening your mouth and the wrong words tumbling out...

I went and looked in Google for a list of things not to say during a miscarriage, and found several lists of them. Maybe this is something to file away for friends and family who might unfortunately go through the very same thing in the future. The following are not my own lists, or my own responses. I just put together several of (what I felt were) the best ones here in one place. And if you've said any of the following, please don't feel badly about it. I've probably mistakenly uttered some of the very same things myself. And these are not "one size fits all", as some of the sayings below have actually brought me comfort. Every couple hears, interprets and feels things differently based on circumstance.

But I think it's universally agreed...the very worst thing to say is nothing at all...or act like nothing has happened. I know I've never felt so alone or isolated in my life, and I have a great support network around me. Many thanks to those who have left comments and/or sent e-mails. I just can't say that enough.



    What not to say to a couple following a miscarriage*:

  1. "Well, nature takes care of her mistakes." The day before, oblivious to any problem they had been excitedly planning their baby's future. They loved it, anticipated it, were excited and thrilled. They imagined their baby, thought up names...looked forward to it. It was never a mistake to to them.

  2. "At least you didn't get to know the baby." That baby was carried inside it's mothers body. How can any relationship be any stronger or more intimate?

  3. "Now you have angel looking after you..." They didn't want an angel - they wanted their child.

  4. "It's for the best." How exactly? Isn't the best a successful, healthy pregnancy?

  5. "You are young you can have other children." This child was a person. It can not be replaced. You would not tell a grieving child, "Don't worry, your mom is young. She'll marry you a new dad." They don't want another baby. They wanted this baby. And you don't necessarily know for sure if they can have another child.

  6. "I know how you feel." If you have never lost a child, you do not know how they feel. Everyone feels their grief uniquely. (Edited by Robyn: I just wanted to say again that I did not write this list. And if you've had a miscarriage, stillbirth, or lost a child yourself, it most certainly does not apply to you. You have our deepest sympathies.)

  7. "You should be over it by now..." It doesn't matter how long it's been. You do not ever just get over it.

  8. "You should be happy it didn't suffer." Of course they didn't want their child to suffer. They wanted a completely healthy and happy child.

  9. "It's nature's way of getting rid of something that was deformed." The couple probably prefers to think of their child in memories as beautiful and perfect, not deformed. That perfect child is the one they are now grieving for in their hearts and minds.

  10. "At least it didn't live a few hours and then die, that would have hurt worse." Maybe they would have loved to have had the opportunity to hear their baby's cry, to see the color of their eyes and hair, and to tell them how much that they loved and wanted them face-to-face.

  11. "You're young, you'll get over it." What does age have to do with pain?

  12. "Good luck to you." The couple is feeling anything but lucky at this moment.

  13. "It could've been worse, it could've happened later." Things can ALWAYS be worse. And later term pregnancy losses are more traumatic in many instances. But this can make them feel as if the loss and sadness are totally dismissed. There's never a good or easy time to lose a child.

  14. "Have you ever thought of not having children?" Yes, they probably have. They realize that they may never be parents now more than ever.

  15. "It was Gods will...God wanted the child with him...God needed another flower in his garden...etc." Such comments can have the effect of making a parent very angry and bitter with God, which may block a possible source of comfort. Religion is very personal.

  16. "God never gives you more than you can bear." Well this seems pretty unbearable at the moment.

  17. "Count your blessings that you didn't have it." They may be finding it hard to find the blessings in anything right now.

  18. "What is God trying to tell you with this?" This implies God killed their baby to teach them a lesson. The couple believes God loved their child as much as He loved them.

  19. "You can try again soon." The furthest thing on most couple's minds right immediately after a miscarriage is the ability to try again. And trying again will not replace the child they lost.

  20. "At least you know you can get pregnant." Well, yes -- this time. But what about in the future? Do you know she will be able to get pregnant again for sure? Her doctors might not.


  21. * Not my own words. Complied via Google searches.


You do not know how I feel --
Please don't tell me that you do.

There's just one way to know --
Have you lost a child too?

"You'll have another child."
Must I hear this each day?

Can I get another mother, too,
If mine should pass a way?

Don't say it was "God's will" --
That is not the God I know.

Would God on purpose break my heart,
Then stand back and watch as my tears flow?

"You have an angel in Heaven --
A precious child above."
But, tell me, to whom here on earth
Shall I give this love?

"Aren't you better yet?"
Is that what I heard you say?
No! A part of my heart still aches --
And I'll always feel some pain.

You think silence is kind,
But it hurts me even more.
I want to talk about my child
Who has gone through death's door.

Don't say these things to me,
although you do mean well.
They don't take my pain away;
For I must go through the hell.

I will get better slow but sure
And it helps to have you near,
But a simple, "I'm sorry you lost your child."
Is all I need to hear.

-Author Unknown

posted at 06:46 PM | link--it | mail it | (75) shout it



How many fates turn around in the overtime
There's a line in a song by Hüsker Dü that goes:

Now I'm hardly getting over it
Hardly getting used to getting by


That's kind of how I feel today. Like I'm not ready to blog again, but it's such a part of my daily routine that I don't know what to do without it. Is that pathetic, or does that mean I'm trying to heal? Or maybe a little bit of both... This is the first day since we got the news that I've woken up without Todd by my side. I think that's the hardest part. Nothing seems "normal" anymore.

This whole thing was such a whirlwind. We didn't even get a full week to be happy about it. We found out the good news on a Wednesday evening, and found out the bad news on a Wednesday afternoon. It's amazing how much your life can turn upside down in the span of just seven short days.

I have a lot of anger over the situation. I've screamed at God for days on end. Why now? Why this way? We'd had just over 18 months to heal, following 18 months of failed surgeries and treatments. (We started "officially trying" in 1998 when we were both 25, but didn't have our first appointment with an infertility specialist until early 2000.) This pregnancy was my one documented case of ovulation in five years time, and I was monitored for it very closely during my 18 months of treatment. But we'd come to terms with the pain. We'd come to terms with the fact I'd never be able to get pregnant. We'd come to terms with the doctors we trusted saying adoption was our only answer. There were some very dark days in the beginning, but we were finally happy again. We'd moved on. Together.

People have taken swipes at me in blog comments recently about living a "charmed life" and always getting what I want. I always rolled my eyes when I read things like that, because people who haven't known me pre-blogging, and people who don't know me in real life, have no fucking idea what my life -- childhood and adulthood -- has been like. For starters, no couple faced with years of infertility would ever describe themselves as "charmed". Is the fact I've lost the two children they said I would never have finally enough for you to end your admitted jealousy of me once and for all? Because this is my life. This is how the story goes. The miracles for everyone else become my curses. Always been like that. Always will be. Yes, I bounce back. And I do it with vigor. I do my best to pick myself up, dust myself off, and smile through the darkness while seeing the glass as half-full -- because I refuse to play the role of the victim for long. Especially when I have my best friend standing right here beside me every day for the rest of our lives. With love like that, it isn't all bad. But just because you weren't around for the ride during the dark days doesn't mean they haven't been on the calendar. So welcome to wherever you are. I suggest helmets and shoulder-restraints. It might be bumpy around these parts for awhile...

The only light in all of this has been my husband, our families and our friends. I couldn't ask for better support. I can't imagine going through anything like this without them. And some of the stories I've read in e-mails and comments since Wednesday have broken my heart all over again. Our own pain pales in comparison to them. I know this. And as much as I'd like to think I didn't need another life lesson -- or more character -- maybe I did. I know the things that were important a couple of weeks ago mean absolutely nothing now. And the things I've taken for granted never will be again. My view of my self -- and my world -- has been permanently altered. I think that just may be a good thing. At least, I hope it is. I don't want to ever believe this much hurt and despair was all in vain.


Well I know we're dying
And there's no sign of a parachute
In this chapel little chapel of love
Can't we get a little grace
And some elegance
No, we scream in cathedrals
Why can't it be beautiful
Why does there gotta be a sacrifice?


-Tori Amos, penned after her miscarriage in '96
posted at 02:03 PM | link--it | mail it | (33) shout it






I know you'll be the sun in somebody else's sky
We lost our two beautiful little angels on Valentine's Day. I will never celebrate the holiday again.

Thanks so much to everyone who has written and posted notes of encouragement and comfort. I'm updating because I know several of you are worried. I will try to reply to as many as I can when I am emotionally -- and physically -- able to do so. Blogging, for now, is simply out of the question. Our thanks also go out to everyone for the thoughts and prayers, although I am finding it very hard to believe and trust in God right now -- and don't know if I ever will be able to do so again.

Please do not comment on this entry out of respect to us, and our loss. I want to keep it empty...just like our hearts...

Much love,
-Robyn (and Todd)
posted at 12:01 AM | link--it | mail it | (0) shout it






Hold On
Hold on
Hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
You know that only time can tell

What is it in me that refuses to believe
This isn't easier than the real thing

My love, you know that you're my best friend
You know that I'd do anything for you

And my love, let nothing come between us
My love for you is strong and true

Am I in heaven here or
Am I...
At the crossroads I am standing

So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow
And will see another day
And we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Across your face

Oh God,
If you're out there won't you hear me?
I know we're never talked before...

And oh God
The ones I love are leaving
Won't you take them when they come to your door?

Am I in heaven here or
Am I in hell?
At the crossroads I am standing

So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow
And we will see another day
And we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Across your face

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell...

-Sarah McLachlan


UPDATE: Please note that I upgraded to MT 2.6 and closed additional comments on this entry, as I never intended for it to have comments in the first place. Thank you for respecting that in the future. And thanks to everyone who took the time to dig around my site in order to leave the kind words that they did. We truly appreciate every single one of them.
posted at 01:45 AM | link--it | mail it | (12) shout it






To be continued...someday
A week ago today, we learned that regardless of what medical science had told us, I was pregnant. On Monday, I had an ultrasound -- and even though it had been a couple of years since we'd been through any kind of infertility treatment, we learned I was carrying twins. Today, more of my bloodwork came back -- and even though I've yet to develop the symptoms -- we were told it appears I will be miscarrying and there isn't much hope. I rarely ask for thoughts and prayers here, but right now we'll gladly take any that you have to offer. I'm honestly not sure when I will blog again. I need a break. Life has taken on a whole new meaning in the last week. And I need my husband. We will be ok. We've made it this far, and things like this only succeed in making us closer. I've never loved Todd more than I do right now. For those who have known and supported us privately, we thank you. It's meant more to us than you can possibly imagine. - Robyn and Todd



UPDATE: Please note that I upgraded to MT 2.6 and closed additional comments on this entry, as I never intended for it to have comments in the first place. Thank you for respecting that in the future. And thanks to everyone who took the time to dig around my site in order to leave the kind words that they did. We truly appreciate every single one of them.
posted at 08:48 PM | link--it | mail it | (70) shout it





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